Alice suggests Penny educate himself on Fillory in case he gets called back there. Penny still doesn't believe in Fillory.
Julia is still looking for different hedges. She meets another witch, Hannah, who was burned by Marina. She offers Julia some spells in exchange for magic companionship. They want to start their own house by stealing spells from Marina. Hannah turns out to be Kady's mom. Hannah tried to steal from Marina before and two people died, so Kady has to steal for Marina as penance. Julia doesn't want to work with Hannah anymore, but Hannah convinces her that she can help. They steal the cabinet of spells, but the pages are blank. Hannah is killed.
Penny still hears the voice from the dungeon. He gets a tattoo to protect him from the Beast.
Quentin gets kidnapped by people in masks, who turn out to be the upperclassmen. The upper class is administering "The Trials" by tradition to the first year class. The trials test their abilities to think and act like a magician. Failure means flunking out of school. The first trial involves decoding a spell. Quentin and Penny are on the same team. Quentin believes they have to cheat.
Penny astral projects to cheat off of Alice. They're successful and pass the first test.
Quentin tells Margo that Fillory is real. He's disappointed that Fillory is not like he imagined. She gives him a drink, and Quentin appears to be drugged. He wakes up in the forest, unable to use magic. His next test is to catch a fish from the stream, Penny's test is to catch a white horse, Kady has to catch a bird, and Alice must chop a tree. They all work together and exchange tools, successfully completing their tasks.
The next trial is to expose their utmost truth. They have to take their clothes off to perform the ritual. Penny and Kady pair off, and Quentin and Alice pair off. Penny confesses that he's falling in love with Kady, and Kady confesses that she had been using him. Alice confesses that she holds back because she doesn't want to be unpopular. Quentin confesses that he always runs, and he still hates himself. All of their bonds break, and they seemingly transform into geese.